By Charles Brun: Amir Khan predicts that welterweight contender Conor Benn will be the next PPV star in the UK, as long as promoter Eddie Hearn begins putting him in with the stiffer competition.
Khan believes Hearn has been matching the 25-year-old Benn with too many soft opponents, and he’d like to see him test him against the unbeaten 24-year-old Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs).
Unfortunately, Ortiz isn’t one of the names that Hearn has been talking about in wanting to pit against Benn for his next step up.
He wants to put Benn in with Jose Ramirez, Mikey Garcia, Maurice Hooker, or Adrien Broner. Hearn is combing the ranks of the smaller, older fighters that are starting to show signs of slippage.
With Conor Benn, Hearn is sitting on an oil well that is pumping out cash faithfully, bringing in the dough without him needing to lift a finger by putting him in against quality opposition that could ruin the revenue stream.
“In the UK, the next pay-per-view star is Conor Benn; he can make it definitely if he gets some big [fights],” said Amir Khan to Secondsout. “See, I think Eddie [Hearn] is holding him back a bit too much.
Conor Benn’s recent opponents:
- Chris Van Heerden
- Chris Algieri
- Adrian Granados
- Samuel Vargas
- Sebastian Formella
- Steve Jamoye
- Jussi Koivula
- Josef Zahradnik
- Cedrick Peynaud
“He’s [Benn] calling out all these big names that he wants to fight like myself and Kell [Brook]. We’re done.
“He needs to go and prove himself like when I fought [Marcos] Maidana. I fought Maidana when nobody expected me to win. He needs to do the same thing,” Khan continued about Conor Benn.
There’s a difference between Khan’s situation when he fought Marcos Maidana in 2010 compared to where Benn is now. When Khan fought Maidana, he had already medaled in the 2004 Olympics and captured a world title at 140.
In contrast, Benn hasn’t won a world title, and Hearn isn’t crazy enough to put him in against a world champion to watch him get rifled.
Benn didn’t have the benefit of an amateur career, so he’s learning on the job in the pro ranks but against older played-out opposition.
Hearn is likely counting on Benn being able to slide in and snatch one of the four titles that are vacated from the winner of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford.
Hearn will have Benn fight for one of the 147-lb belts that don’t require that he face Vergil Ortiz Jr. or Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis. Benn would have no chance against either of those talented fighters.
“He needs to fight these Vergil Ortiz’s or fight the young fighter that beat Vergil Ortiz. He needs to really beat someone.
“When I beat Maidana [in 2010], he had like 31 fights, drawn one, and knocked 30 out, so he [Benn] needs to prove himself like that. I think he could be a very big pay-per-view star,” said Khan.